COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the disease within the last three months will be exempt from presenting a negative PCR test before entering Israel, the Foreign Ministry's Exemptions Committee and the Population and Immigration Authority announced on Monday.
The committee voted unanimously to exempt those who can present proof of recovery effective immediately from taking the test which Israel has so far required from all travelers as a prerequisite for boarding inbound flights.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported that 6,456 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of some 130,000 tests carried out over the previous 24 hours, putting the country's infection rate at 5.17% — the lowest such figures recorded since August 13.
The country's R-number, which gauges how many new coronavirus infections spurt on average from any single case dropped to 0.92m, suggesting that the current morbidity wave is on the decline. Any number over 1 indicates infections are on the rise while any number under 1 means morbidity is receding.
However, it should be noted that the low figures could be attributed to reduced virus testing during the High Holidays.
Health Ministry data also pointed to an alarming surge in cases in Israel's Arab sector, with 40% of all new cases detected among Israeli Arabs.
Data further show that 43% of all recent infections were recorded among children aged eleven and younger — an age group that is not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine at this stage. Another 14% of diagnoses were detected among Israelis aged 12–18 and another 4% among those aged 60 and over.
Meanwhile, Israeli hospitals were treating 714 severe cases of COVID-19, 194 of them were connected to ventilators.
Unvaccinated patients, numbering 478, accounted for almost 70% of the country's severe cases.